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Wiccanate Privilege Workshop

August 27, 2014

So in the wider Pagan/Polytheist community there was quite the kerfluffle over the concept of Wiccanate Privilege.  My local community is behind the times…out of touch…clueless or maybe simply more tolerant.  I don’t know.  Yet I’ve started to see the possibilities of there being problems.

A prime example would be at the staff meeting for the local Pagan festival, Dragonfest.  The staff t-shirt had a pentacle upon it.  Yet there is several polytheists on staff, primarily heathens (I am the token Hellenic 🙂 ).  When it was mentioned that the symbol is very exclusionary of other non-Wiccan Pagans, we were met with startled, almost deer-in-the-headlight looks.  It hadn’t remotely occurred to them that not all of those attending the festival would not consider the pentacle a holy or representative symbol.  They promised they’d figure something else out.

So I mentioned to one of the other polytheists about the whole Wiccanate Privilege debate and suggested it would make for an interesting workshop.  I also suggested that it may help head off future issues.  I’ve was reminded of the time at a workshop, one of the community elders stating that no one worships the Greek Gods anymore.  While I promptly, disabused him of that notion, I think it is fairly typical viewpoint in the local community. She thought it sounded like an interesting workshop.  Long story short, she agreed to do the workshop and asked me to attend.

Unfortunately, she forgot her notes and it was more sparsely attended than we would have hoped.  So she facilitated it as a more informal round table.  There were five polytheists (three Heathens, one Hellenic and one Druid).  I can’t remember how many others attended but I do know there were a couple of the festival “crones”, one of which is a High Priestess of her own coven and several other people.  Now for someone who likes to talk, talking in a formal setting gives me heebee geebees so overall this was a better format for me.  I presented what has happened in the wider community stating how we want to avoid that here.  We discussed how Wiccans, who are the majority at this festival, assume that their way of doing ritual, seeing the deities as the typical methodology of all festival attendees.  While that is fine for particular rituals, however it leaves out a growing percentage of the community during community-wide rituals, such as the opening and closing ritual for the festival.  We discussed the differences in beliefs such as duotheism vs. polytheism and the differences in ritual such as circles and quarters.  It was also touched upon that the reasons Heathens stopped attending this festival (which used to have many attend) was because of the increase (almost to the point of belligerence) expectation of Wiccan methods and beliefs over all others in community-wide rituals.  Overall, I think we brought things to the attention of the attendees that they had never heard about more less thought about.  There was also some interest expressed for next year in having similar discussions on more specific topics.

While the workshop was sparsely attended, I think we did a good job of kicking the door open on the discussion.  I look forward to seeing how the local community progresses in this area.

Oh, and the staff t-shirt?  The pentacle was replaced with the festival logo, a dragon.  🙂

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2014 10:31 AM

    how wonderful to hear about discussions going on, and sensible solutions being reached. while i suppose ‘wiccanate privilege’ is everywhere, since as you point out, it’s sort of the default position at most pagan festivals, i myself haven’t encountered it in any belligerent fashion.
    this is awesome.
    khairete
    suz

    Like

  2. henadology permalink
    August 27, 2014 1:32 PM

    I think it’s great that you stepped up and did that. The best thing about such a discussion is that it makes people aware that there are other traditions out there, people who may be searching for something different, perhaps without even being entirely conscious of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 27, 2014 8:38 PM

      I didn’t run the workshop/round-table, only assisted, but was pleased at the initial reaction.

      Like

  3. August 27, 2014 1:56 PM

    This is a great topic that I think should be discussed more. In my little corner of the world (New Zealand) Wicca is rather popular, but other Pagan or polytheistic traditions are almost unheard of. I’m starting to wonder if I’m the only Hellenic recon down here! I’ve had a lot of people simply assume that I was Wiccan, so it’s good to see that the subject is being raised. Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 27, 2014 8:39 PM

      While I am in the US, I do live in an area with no other Pagans…the “local” community for me is actually 100 miles away. Even then I don’t know of any Hellenics, recon or otherwise. So you do have my sympathy.

      Like

  4. August 27, 2014 4:10 PM

    I don’t think Wiccans are belligerent nor arrogant. The problem is people have way too many expectations. Pagan doesn’t even mean European Pagan. I’m a Gnostic, I worship every God I find out about as my practice. I consider myself as much a Wiccan as a Santero, as a Hindu and Buddhist, as a Christian, Jew, Muslin, Vodusant and Hoodooman etc..

    I equally believe in all Gods. But, the symbols of all these Deities and Religions are so vast it’s impossible for any one gathering, to be able to show them all. It’s simply not feasible unless you have a secret library of every faith out there. I also worship Sumerian, Kemetan, and Hebrew Gods. I doubt anyone is going to show case a Divine Hexagram (Star of David) with the Hand of Miriam/Hamza Hand, or the Eye of Ra let alone the sigil of Lord Anu on anyone’s shirt.

    That’s not Wiccanate privilege, that’s just the reality we face. It can be changed, but for arguments sake let’s say you at least get Greco-Roman, Heathen, maybe some symbols of the Pagans in England.
    What happens to Cristo Pagans who wear the Pentacross? Or Voodoo and Hoodoo practitioners who believe the Gods and the Saints are one and the same, there’s still a bunch who do that. There’s even Catholic Witches from a long and old tradition in Italy called Benedicaria (The Blessed Way). Or Muslim Witches that bless or curse with Quranic verses, or the Yezidi of Iraq who worship Shiva but call him Satan because the word Satana is considered to be older than the fall of the Biblical Satan.

    Hell while we’re at it, remember that there are Pagan Satanists out there who worship Pagan Gods with Satan from the Bible because they see him as a powerful symbol of Rebellion. Yeah, imagine sitting them next to the Benedicaria. That would be something to watch. Then it becomes a semi Eurocentric Pagan privilege, because then whoever is in charge will start to decide that only some Pagans or at least their definition of Pagan, will be allowed. Then you’ll religious segregation on your hands.

    Which lead to conflict. That’s already happened online. I guarantee you any one of those people will start a hissy fit when they see Pagans from other traditions who dont fit their bill. And I say Pagan because the Muslim Witches I’ve met like the Cristo Pagans worship older middle eastern Deities under Allah. They’re persecuted and have to hide their practices but believe me they exist.

    And Hebrew Pagans who still engage in worship of the Elohim (ancient Hebrew Gods) and the Baalim or Ba’als are persecuted in Occupied Palestine and have to hide their religion from the Zionist state. But I bet there are a lot of Euro style Pagans who won’t see them as Pagan and will label then ‘eclectic’ the favorite label of small minded people who cant understand how another tradition works. The issue here is one of tolerance or intolerance as well as knowledge. That is the larger, and far more important issue of you ask me. To me the whole Wiccanate privilege stuff is political correctness that is striving to be so correct it becomes incorrect by default because it tries to address a small section of a far larger and more controversial topic.

    And that’s that not everyone will know every tradition there is nor be able to put every single symbol out there. That’s a lot of research plus a lot of money for making all those emblems. That all translates to money in the end.

    Like

    • August 27, 2014 8:45 PM

      That isn’t what we were asking for and you are making a lot of assumptions. We wanted awareness that the Wiccan methodology and viewpoint are not the only one, just the most popular one. This talk was to open the door for more dialogue to hopefully avoid a ruckus similar to the one that occurred online. Heck, I wouldn’t even expect anyone to include anything Hellenic in a ritual, simply because I’m the minority of the minority. But it cannot happen at all if they are not aware that there ARE other rhymes and reasons than their own.

      This isn’t something I’m willing to argue about. Just a blog of what I experienced in real time with other Pagans and Polytheists.

      Like

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